Panko Covered Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Legs

Recently, a friend asked for ideas on what to do with panko, a type of breadcrumb used in Japanese cuisine. Panko has become increasingly popular throughout the years, working its way from specialty stores and into local supermarkets and grocery stores. It’s larger than traditional breadcrumbs and has a crispier, airier texture. After passing it several times in her neighborhood supermarket, my friend decided to buy it and give it a try. She called me a few days later, unable to come up with a creative way to use it. I promptly gave her the recipe for crispy, panko covered rosemary-garlic drumsticks. These juicy, crispy legs don’t disappoint.

The legs are my absolute favorite part of a chicken. Even as a little girl, I had a preference for dark meat. I find it to be so much juicier and flavorful than the rest of the chicken. White meat cooks a lot quicker and can dry out if overcooked by even a few minutes. I usually substitute chicken thighs or drumsticks for most recipes that call for shredded breast. Chicken legs are inexpensive, which means you can get a lot more for your money. In this economy, it’s always a great thing when you can stretch a buck. Drumsticks and thighs can range anywhere from $1.29 to $1.99 a pound, depending on where you shop. If you buy the entire quarter leg and cut them yourself, you can pay as little as 99 cents a pound. These definitely qualify as cheap eats!

Panko Covered Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Legs

Adapted from Tyler Florence

What You’ll Need:

10 chicken drumsticks
3 cups panko bread crumbs
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a baking sheet in the oven while you preheat it. In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic and rosemary with a bit of olive oil. In a shallow dish, mix the panko with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil mixture. Add salt and pepper, to taste. In a second shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper.  Place the flour in a third dish and season with salt and pepper. Take each chicken leg and dredge in flour, then the egg wash, then coat in the panko mixture. Lay the chicken on a tray while you finish the rest.

Remember that empty baking sheet you placed in the oven? Well, remove it  and brush some olive oil onto the hot surface. Carefully place the chicken legs onto the tray, making sure they are not crowded together. The drumsticks will sizzle when they come into contact with the baking sheet. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve. Enjoy!

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A Simple Side: Indian Inspired Potatoes

I love Indian food. The bold spices and exotic aromas are comforting, yet conjure the images of a far away, unknown land. If you’re unfamiliar with Indian food, or just want to make a simple dish in your very own kitchen, give this recipe a try. It’s simple, yet delicious. For some added heat, add a large serrano pepper, split down the middle, to simmer with the potatos.

Indian Spiced Potatoes

Adapted from Aarti Sequeira

What You’ll Need:
2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows, or 2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt

Mix the Ginger-Garlic Paste, coriander, turmeric, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl, then set aside. This is called a wet masala.

In a large pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the cumin seeds, then stand back and take cover! They’ll splutter and try to pop out of the pan. After about 30 seconds, add the wet masala, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the potatoes to the pot, stirring to coat with the masala. Season with salt and the remaining water. Cover and reduce to low-medium heat, simmering the potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender. Serve hot.

Garlic-Ginger Paste

What You’ll Need:
1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup canola oil

Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a small food processor blend  until it forms a paste. This blend makes an excellent addition to many Indian recipes. Keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Keeps well for several weeks.

A Taste of Home

It’s been a while since my first entry. I haven’t lost interest or my passion for cooking, it’s just been hard find time to LEARN to  blog. Honestly, this entire process is new to me. I don’t like the feeling of not knowing how to do something. I’m not tech-savvy, so using WordPress is similar to me learning a new language. Funny enough, during a recent visit to the library, I came across WordPress for Dummies. It was like a sign! I immediately headed to the checkout desk and trotted home with my latest find. Now, I haven’t actually had time to open the book, but I’m sure the day will come. Until then, I’ve been cooking up a storm and wanted to share my latest meal.

When I want comfort food, you know, the type of food that warms you up, fills your belly and makes you want to curl up on the sofa because you’re so full, I usually turn to one of two ingredients: potatoes or rice. Today, it was the latter. I decided to cook up a taste of home and reached down to my Spanish roots. Tonight’s menu consisted of yellow rice, pink beans and roasted pork shoulder with mojo, a delicious garlic sauce. If you’re a fan of garlic, like I am, you’ll want to make this sauce again and again!

Yellow Rice

Arroz Amarillo

Adapted from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen by Mary Urrutia Randelman

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce (preferably Goya brand)

1 packet Sazon Goya with Coriander and Annatto

2 tablespoons Goya Sofrito Tomato Cooking Base

2 cups raw extra long-grain white rice (preferably Carolina brand)

4 cups water

In a medium-size saucepan over low heat, heat the oil until fragrant, and then add the Sazon and Sofrito. Heat for about one minute. Add the rice, water and tomato sauce, then raise the heat to high. Cook, uncovered, until all the water has been absorbed and small craters appear on top of the rice, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, stir with a fork, cover, and cook until the rice is dry and fluffy, 10 minutes.

Pink Beans

Habichuelas Rosadas

1 can (15.5 oz) Goya Pink Beans

2 tablespoons Goya Sofrito Tomato Cooking Base

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce (preferably Goya brand)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 packets Goya Sazon with Coriander and Annatto

½ cup water

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Roasted Pork Shoulder

Pernil

Adapted from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen by Mary Urrutia Randelman

One 8 pound leg or shoulder of pork

10 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ cup Goya Naranja Agria, Bitter Orange Marinade or ¼ cup orange juice combined with 1/8 cup each fresh lime and lemon juice

½ cup dry sherry

The night before cooking, pierce the meat all over with a large knife. In a mortar, combine the garlic, oregano, salt, and cumin, and mash into a paste. Rub the paste well onto the pork, making sure to put some in the slits of the meat. Place the pork into a large pan or plastic bag, whatever you will be using to keep the meat in overnight.  Add the Naranja Agria and sherry, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the meat from the marinade and place in a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes, uncovered. Then, cover the pork and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cook for another four hours. During the last 15 minutes, uncover the pork so the skin will develop a crunchy texture. When it is done, remove the pork from the oven and allow it to sit, covered with foil, 15 minutes before carving. Serve with Mojo.

Mojo

Garlic Sauce

10 gloves garlic

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons Goya Naranja Agria, Bitter Orange Marinade or ¼ cup orange juice combined with 1/8 cup each fresh lime and lemon juice

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small food processor, pulse the garlic and salt until it forms a paste. Slowly add the Naranja Agria, then the olive oil, processing until smooth. This delicious sauce will keep about one week refrigerated, although I doubt it will last that long!